G-d's 401K

In these tough economic times, many are struggling to juggle budgets and stay afloat financially. For some, they have lost much of their retirement income; for others, it's simply that the dollar just doesn't stretch as far as it did a short time ago. This creates a lot of uncertainty and stress---it's hard to know what to do when the horizon doesn't show much change for the better.

One thing is certain, and it's something we can count on: G-d is always in control and nothing takes Him by surprise!

This past year, the L-rd has shown me something that is so simple, so profound, yet most of us fail to grasp it. Why? Because it is just the opposite of what we are conditioned to do.

I'm not talking about prosperity, gaining riches, acquiring success according to the world's view. But I do know the L-rd's plan for meeting our needs. I believe with all my heart that if we follow G-d's principles, He will provide, He will bless. We can count on Him to be G-d in our lives!

In studying G-d's Word, we find that there are "opposites", or opposing ideas, throughout.

In Isaiah 55:8,9 the L-rd reminds us, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the L-RD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

The wisdom of this world has taught us to think and behave a certain way. We have, often without realizing it, absorbed and adopted worldly reasoning, philosophies and values that have had a deep-rooted and profound effect upon our behavior at the most fundamental levels.

I Corinthians 1:25, 27-29 illuminates the contrast between G-d's ways and the world's:

Because the foolishness of G-d is wiser than men; and the weakness of G-d is stronger than men.
But G-d hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and G-d hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath G-d chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence."

Wow---G-d knows exactly what He is doing in making these choices and in establishing His ways! All is for His glory---man cannot share in that by any of his own cleverness or by contriving a "better way" to do things. One cannot expect success apart from doing things according to G-d's truths and His methods.

Here are some "opposites" in Scripture that illustrate this idea:

We must lose what we want to find: Matthew 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24

The last shall be first; the first shall be last: Matthew 20:16; Mark 9:35

The humble shall be exalted: Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14

Our liberty is used to serve: Galatians 5:13; I Peter 2:16

We are to love those who hate us: Matthew 5:43, 44

We are blessed when we are hated for the L-rd's sake: Luke 6:22, 23

Those who desire to be chief must be a servant: Matthew 20:26, 27

He that is least shall be greatest: Matthew 18:4; Luke 9:48c

To be honored requires humility: Proverbs 15:33; 18:12

In order to be strong, we must be weak: II Corinthians 12:10

And yes, even in the area of being blessed, the Scriptures instruct us that we must give if we are to receive!: Luke 6:38; Acts 20:35

Notice--we do not make arrangements with the L-rd that if He gives to us, then we will give to Him. We don't ask G-d to trust us and to take us at our word. It's the other way around!

The Bible clearly states, "Give, and it shall be given unto you....."!! G-d establishes the order. He wants us to prove Him in our lives. He wants us to take the step of faith in obedience to Him, learn to trust Him and take Him at His Word. He wants to prove to us that He will never fail in keeping His promises.

Malachi 3:7-11 explains G-d's plan so well:

"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. "

Is that not how many of us find ourselves today? We have been living according to the world's rules and not G-d's principles.

"Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the L-RD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?"

Most of us don't realize what we've been doing; we think we've been pretty good Christians. Some of us....myself included.....have had no clue!! We may have been giving in the offering plate on Sunday, but we haven't realized the right way to view it or G-d's whole economy of working in our lives as a result!

"Will a man rob G-d? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?"

I daresay that most of us would recoil at the thought of robbing G-d! We would never think to do such a thing. We'd never steal from anyone, much less G-d!!

"In tithes and offerings." This is G-d's answer to that question! Plain, simple, direct!

The tithe, G-d's Word tells us, already belongs to G-d. It is His! Our offerings are what we are to give above that, from our hearts, willingly, out of love for Him.

"Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation."

Are we there yet? Are you with me on this? Isn't this the truth? We can never seem to get ahead. Our whole nation is surely reaping this curse!

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the L-RD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

This is G-d's remedy for that curse! But it seems so opposite of what we naturally would do!!

If we are struggling financially, what do we usually do? We hold back, don't we? We hang on tightly to every penny and dime!

What do we put in the offering plate on Sunday? Nothing? [L-rd---I can't give---I don't have anything to give--I have to pay the water bill and the property taxes, and car insurance this week!] A dollar? Five dollars? Ten dollars? Do we merely "tip" G-d? [Well, as soon as I start making more money, I'll give more, we lie to ourselves.]

Did you know that every person who has ever told my husband (the pastor) that they will give the church a big offering when they get an expected large some of money has never done so? We literally cringe whenever anyone says anything like this, because their flesh is weak, and they don't follow through, and disaster always results for this person in time.

You cannot rob G-d; it's a serious thing to default on a vow to G-d.

"And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes....."

Have you been plagued by the devourer? Have you been throwing good money after bad? G-d says that we are to prove Him regarding our giving and see what He will do to take care of our needs!

Paul revealed this truth of giving and receiving to the Philippian believers. We all like to quote Philippians 4:19 whenever we are experiencing trouble of this nature: "But my G-d shall supply all your need...."

However, we ignore the previous verses that reveal the context and conditions for this promise.

Verse 15 reveals the issue: giving and receiving, namely in taking care of the needs of G-d's servant, Paul.

Verse 17 reveals Paul's motive for using this situation to illustrate this fundamental truth to these early believers: "I desire fruit that may abound to your account."

Paul was not being selfish here. G-d would supply his needs with or without these Philippian believers, but he wanted them to reap the rewards!

Verse 16 reveals that the Philippians sacrificed to give to Paul---"a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to G-d." They didn't give because they had a bunch of extra stuff or money that they could easily part with. They gave out of their own necessity!

Verse 19 is to reassure these believers that the result of their giving would not impoverish them, but rather, G-d would take care of all their needs.

Have you ever considered that there is a reason why G-d loves a cheerful giver?

The L-rd wants to bless us! He loves us, therefore He desires to be able to pour out His blessings upon us.

It's we, ourselves, that hinder the L-rd blessing us!!

II Corinthians 9:6-8 reveals a very profound truth: If we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly. But the converse is also true---give bountifully and we will reap bountifully.

The L-rd does, indeed, bless us in proportion to our giving.

This isn't a "prosperity gospel" thing at all. II Corinthians 9:8 tells us that when we follow G-d's principle of giving, then He will make sure that we "having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."

The purpose for which we need G-d's blessings to be poured out on us is not for selfish gain! It is to be able to serve G-d with liberty, without the constraint that lacking things brings. We want to be blessed in order to bless the L-rd by serving Him and being able to give more and more and more......with the result being that the more we give, the more G-d blesses us so that we can give even more and so on!

This way of thinking and living blesses others and blesses G-d! And in blessing others and G-d, we, ourselves, are blessed also.

The end all is not to GET something from G-d. It isn't to accumulate wealth or things to consume it upon our own lusts (James 4:3). If that is our motive, then we know why we ask and receive not!

Again, let us look at Malachi 3:10---

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the L-RD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

In other words, G-d is able to bless us so that all our needs are met. Why? Because in meeting the needs of G-d's work and His servants----"that there be meat in mine house", the windows of heaven are then opened to meet our own needs.

Just as in II Corinthians 9, we are told that G-d's blessing us is in order that we may abound to every good work----for HIS glory---yet we reap the rewards! It is to our benefit to be a cheerful giver!! G-d loves a cheerful giver so that He can pour out blessings upon us.

Isn't this so much better than our usual selfish, worldy-wise way of living?

Truly, this "opposite" is born out: It is more blessed to give than to receive!!

This is G-d's 401K plan for us. He wants to meet our needs, and when we do according to His methods, He will!

Because the greatest giver of all is our G-d!!


Bro. Raz said...

God's name is holy and precious; it should not be abbreviated to G-d or L-rd to accommodate unbelieving Jews or any other group. That is His name as recorded in the Bible. I find it offensive when IF Baptists shorten God's name or put it in some sort of shorthand for any reason (and any reason is NOT Biblical).

JTR said...

While I am curious as to the reason why certain letters were admitted, this reminds me of the verse in the Bible where for some to do a certain (non sinful) thing could not be of faith, so for them, it was sin. I do not believe it is wrong to write the holy name of God out, but if someone's conscience condemns them for doing it, I will not have issue with it.

JTR said...

Ps. I do know the author, Beth, is an Independent Baptist preacher's wife.

Grammy Blick said...

JTR -- Would that be in the 14th chapter of Romans where I read:

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. (Romans 14:5 KJV)

I do enjoy in between these two:

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. (Romans 14:13 KJV)

Of course, this is my favorite:

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (Romans 14:19 KJV)

It is a blessing to share His word!!

Bro. Raz said...

The conscience should never be our final authority on anything. The conscience can be wrong; it can be influenced by false doctrine. The conscience should be brought in line with the Word of God. A Catholic in good conscience goes to a priest to confess his sins; does this make it right for this person to do so? Or should they be taught that such is unbiblical, and be taught instead to do the right thing according to the scripture? It is purely a mark of Judaism to omit the letters in God's name.